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Australian Gun Reform Laws

Uploaded by Ethan on Nov 09, 2002

The Firearms Act 1996 (Vic.) was passed by the Victorian Parliament on October 31st 1996 in accordance with the National Agreement on Firearms which aimed to create uniform gun laws Australia wide. The Act repealed the Firearms Act 1958 (Vic.) and the Firearms Act (Amendment) 1983 (Vic.) and established prohibitions on certain people and guns. Under the Act, a ‘prohibited person’ was defined as anyone who had served a jail term for an indictable, assault or drug related offence or subject to a domestic violence intervention order.

New categories for guns were created and gun owners had to pass certain requirements and demonstrate genuine reason for owning a firearm as well as provide appropriate storage for the weapon. Strict fines and jail sentences were established for offenders, but owners of newly prohibited guns were able to surrender their weapons and receive compensated under the national guns amnesty.

Categories C and D guns (including semi-automatic rifles, shotguns and pump-action shotguns) were prohibited unless the applicant could prove a specific use for the weapon such as professional farming or hunting and that Category A or B weapons was insufficient. Category E included machine, teargas and shot guns and rifles shorter than 75cm. Category E license applicants had to prove the firearm was required for police or military duties. Handguns, were classified in their own category and had tighter requirements for ownership.

The reasons behind the change in gun laws were both social and political. Between 1987 and 1996, 136 people were killed in gun massacres alone. After the Hoddle and Queen Street massacres of 1987, great public concern arose and the Victorian premier tried to tighten gun laws. The Strathfield massacre of 1991 intensified the debate in Sydney and subsequently importation of semi-automatic weapons was banned nationally.

As Australia became more urbanised, 90% of the nation realised the need for stricter gun laws to assure their safety and security by restricting the availability of high powered weapons and banning convicted criminals and domestic violence offenders from owning guns. In 1996 the Australian Institute of Criminology found that the majority of people killed with guns were killed in states with relaxed gun laws. Furthermore, gun deaths dropped 30% after tougher Victorian gun laws were introduced in 1987. People saw this correlation between stricter gun laws and fewer gun related deaths, exemplified by the Port Arthur massacre (where Bryant was able to own a...

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Uploaded by:   Ethan

Date:   11/09/2002

Category:   Law

Length:   11 pages (2,476 words)

Views:   2236

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